As she leaned toward Nannygranne, her expression filled with confusion, her eyes with tears. “Why did God make me different!” She’d suffered another panic attack. It happened because she was overwhelmed by all the loud and exuberant celebration of the wedding reception the weekend before. She’d been so excited about the wedding, her new dress, her sparkly shoes and pretty hair do. She felt like Cinderella at the ball. But instead of the clock striking midnight, her mind went into panic mode. Her body shook. She froze in terror and she began to weep. All the adults at the table couldn’t understand what was wrong and she was embarrassed, as well. Her mother did understand and gently led her away from the noise to a quiet place where she could regroup. The doctors said she had a sensory processing brain disorder. Time and therapy would help her learn to cope with intense surroundings as she grew older, but for Cinderella it had been a nightmare.
Nannygranne took her hands in her own and said, “I’m so sorry your time at the wedding was interrupted by your body, Betsy. I know how excited you were. You’re working hard at Occupational Therapy and someday, you’ll be able to enjoy weddings and concerts and big places like you want to.”
“That’s what Momma says,” she responded. “And I’ve seen other kids at OT that have worse problems than mine, but why does God make some people different or crooked or broken?” Then she laid her head on her arms and wept.
Nannygranne smoothed her hair, gently comforting her, holding back her own tears. “Honey, I don’t know the answer to that, but I can tell you what Jesus said about one man He met who was blind.”
Raising her tear-stained face, Betsy accepted Nannygranne’s offer of a tissue. Wiping her eyes and nose she said, “I’ve heard that story. Jesus healed him and he could see.”
“Yes, Jesus did. And He’s promised to heal everyone’s bodies who come to Him when He comes again to take all His family home.1 But Jesus said something that day that is really important.”
“What did He say?” Now Betsy was curious.
Taking out her cell phone, Nannygranne opened her Bible app to John 9:1ff. “I’ll read it to you.”
As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been blind since birth. 2 Jesus’ disciples asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?”
3 “No, it wasn’t!” Jesus answered. “But because of his blindness, you will see God work a miracle for him.”
“Of course then Jesus healed the man. But my favorite part of the story is when Jesus said, ‘Because of his blindness, you will see God work…’
“Do you remember when Adam and Eve listened to the devil in the Garden of Eden and chose to not obey God? Everything changed for humans that day when sin became part of the world. Now our bodies don’t always work right. Even things in the plants and animals sometimes don’t work right. That’s why we call that day The Fall of Man. But Jesus will be back to make all things right one day.2 Until then, because of our troubles, we will see God work. Jesus wants to do something special in each and every one of us.”
“So you think He wants to do something special in me?” Becky puzzled.
“Definitely. Becky, when you are so brave and have to work harder than most people to do what is easy for everyone else, you are a little like a hero for others.”
The girl was stunned. “A hero? Really?”
“I’ve seen so many brave people who have learned to do things doctors said they’d never do. When I see those people walking, talking, laughing and loving, I thank God for His blessings. And they are my heroes because they show me that I can be braver about my own hard things. Everyone has something hard they have to do in life sooner or later. Some hard things are on the inside and don’t show on the outside. God wants to do something special in all of us.”
“Nannygranne, what’s hard for you?” Becky asked.
“Well, most of my hard things are on the inside, but I do have something different, too. It’s a little thing, but to me as a girl it was a big thing.” Nannygranne held up her hand to show a scarred palm and a deformed forefinger. “When I was about your age, I fell into some oken glass and cut my hand up, and almost cut my finger off. The doctors repaired it but said I’d never type or play the piano or guitar. I cried because I’d just started learning to play piano. Also, my mother was a secretary and I wanted to grow up to be like her.”
“What happened then?” Becky encouraged her friend to continue.
“Well, I just tried not to think about my finger and I learned how to use it. In high school I got the prize for typing over 120 words per minute. And I play piano all the time because I love it. I just do it differently from others.”
Becky smiled then, studying Nannygranne’s old wrinkled hand with its scars. “Then you’re a hero, too, Nannygranne.”
“Oh, Becky! Not like you and so many more. I think God has given this world a lot of heroes, Becky, and heroes are heroes because they’re different. I love you just like you are, Becky. You’re strong and I can’t wait to see God’s work in your life.”
1 Phil 3:21
2 Revelation 21
“No arms, no legs, no worries”